mike sterling's progressive ruin

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Things the new Battlestar Galactica needed more of. 

#1 - Robot daggits:

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from Battlestar Galactica #9 (Nov. 1979)
by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema & Klaus Janson

Friday, March 20, 2009

Frankly, I don't hear the word "bumbershoot" often enough nowadays. 

Just scanning some books for use on a flyer we'll be handing out at a paperback book show this coming week, and thought I'd share them with you here. I was looking for a couple of images that would stand out as a black and white image and reduced in size, and I thought the high contrast -- the dark background and the brightly-colored spaceship -- on this first cover would work nicely:

I'm not seeing a whole lot of legroom in that ship, but it's still a pretty neat image.

And this second cover I picked because I thought those eyes would really grab your attention:

I haven't read this book, so I gotta ask...are those propellers those spacemen have attached to their suits? How do those work in space, exactly?

This next book isn't one I'm using for the flyer, but one I'm simply keeping for myself, because, well...

...here, let me transcribe the blurb from the back cover:

"Professor J. Adrian Fillmore was a collector of strange antiques. Little did he know that when he bought the odd umbrella he would become a collector of strange adventures.

"Pulled by the magical bumbershoot through realms of Victorian fantasy, Fillmore stumbled on the Frankenstein monster...a world of genies...Gilbert and Sullivan extravaganzas...Dracula...even Sherlock Holmes!

"Fillmore searched for the umbrella's inventor, Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' archenemy...only to confront the most treacherous villain in the maddest, most frightening cosmos of them all."

SOLD. Sure, it had me with "magical bumbershoot," but I'm also a sucker for parodies/pastiches/alternate takes on Sherlock Holmes, so this book was right up my alley.

(For more paperback book covers of varying vintage, may I recommend pal Dorian's Paperback Book Club?)

The Colors of Space (Monarch Books Inc., 1963, 1st printing)

The Falling Torch (Pyramid Books, 1959, 1st printing)

The Incredible Umbrella (Dell, 1980, 1st paperback edition)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mike's "Takin' It Easy" post. 

I seem to have caught yet another lousy cold, so I'm going to chintz out a bit on today's entry, if it's all the same to you folks.

In response to yesterday's Batman Beyond post, pal Dan asks if I've seen the Return of the Joker movie yet. Yes, I did, back when it was originally released. Well, let me amend that...I passed on the first release, and picked up the "unrated/uncensored/unwhatevered" version, that was just a tad more violent and a tad less dumbed down that the original "kiddie" version. Though in this case "kiddie" is bit of a misnomer, since no matter how you slice it, the general plot of the film is about as bleak and unpleasant as one of these cartoons generally can get. I don't want to get into too many spoilers, but there are some pretty distressing fates awaiting some of (the original) Batman's supporting characters/villains.

Here, have an Amazon link...you can get this movie for rockbottom prices now, apparently:

Also, Streaker asks if I've seen the Watchmen Motion Comic yet, and the answer to that is no, though I did receive a copy for my birthday and will get around to it in the next few days, I think. Finding out it was just one guy doing all the voices and narration was bit of a surprise, but I imagine watching it will remind me of that very old show on the Nickelodeon channel where comic book stories were presented panel by panel and read aloud.

On a completely unrelated note, as I was trying to track down Grim Reaper images for my birthday post, I came across one of the most awesome horror comic covers ever. And while any story would have a hard time living up to that image, the actual story attached to that cover gives it its best shot. So enjoy, won't you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In which my site finally goes to the d...no, sorry, can't do it. 

So I've been watching the season sets of Batman Beyond via the Netflix over the last few weeks, and it's generally an enjoyable, if surprisingly bleak, series. But in the last episode of Season 2, Ace in the Hole, Batman investigates an illegal dogfighting ring where the man in charge has been experimenting with growth hormones and such to create larger and more violent dogs. And as these things usually go, Batman gets trapped in an arena with what the villain promises is the largest, meanest dog of them all. At first you only see red eyes glowing in the darkness beyond an opened door.

And then you see holy crap what the hell is that thing

Here it is with Batman for more of a sense of scale:

That thing...good gravy, it's hideous. And the still pictures don't really do it justice. The fight scene that ensues is fast, brutal, and completely grotesque and terrifying. This is the sort of thing someone sees as a young kid, and then years later is reminded of it somehow, dredging up some shadowy memory of images from that cartoon that makes him/her think "geez, what the hell was I watching?"

There's some Jack Kirby influence in the monster-dog's design, I think...at least, that's what I kept thinking as I was watching the fight. Particularly around the dog's face...there's just something Kirbyesque about it. And it reminded me a bit of Miracledog (or Marveldog, for you sticklers), as seen here in issue #6 of the Eclipse Comics series:

...in that it's another malformed, insanely aggressive animal that's absolutely horrifying.

Anyway, I saw that episode last night and thought I'd share with you folks.

That was the broadcast image simultaneously filling the TV screens of many a household just a few years ago. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For a second there, I thought I saw the Phantom Stranger punching out a drug dealer named "Dan D. Candy," but surely that wasn't the case... 

...or was it?

from the Phantom Stranger back-up in Saga of the Swamp Thing #13 (May 1983)
by Nicola Cuti & Fred Carrillo

Monday, March 16, 2009

So, you see... 

...Rorschach was shouting for his face, and the next panel had Face (as played by Dirk Benedict) from The A-Team, and....

Okay, fine.

A couple of other 40th birthday follow-ups:

Tangognat conducted an e-mail interview with Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn about their creation Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, and it's good readin'.

Pal Dorian has a category on his site entitled "Mike is unfair to little puppy dogs" and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.

Remember a few days ago when I explained in possibly too much detail about how we feed the bargain boxes? Well, I was going through that process again this weekend, as we had a collection that came in where we bought a handful of '60s and '70s X-Men and ended up getting the rest of the collection dumped on us in the process.

Now, all of the comics were bagged, but that was the extent of the care with which they were treated, as they were all sort of dumped haphazardly in cardboard boxes of various sizes and left stored in what was probably a dusty corner of a garage somewhere. These things were caked with dust and dirt, and some of the bags were even splashed with what I was hoping was some kind of food spillage. As I said, at least they were bagged, or the conditions could have been a lot worse. But the conditions were shaky enough on these relatively common items (mostly '70s and '80s Marvels) that they're almost all going to the bargain bins...soon as I replace all those awful, awful bags.

As we emptied out the cardboard boxes, we found a bunch of detritus beneath the books, including several pennies, a couple of small envelopes of foreign stamps (some apparently postmarked and removed from mailings), and a small action-figure scale plastic samurai sword.

And we found one of these:

Based on this issue of the Marvel series. Book is beat to crap (and water damaged!) but the record is still present and looks okay.

Given the state of this collection, we'll take what we can get!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The long-awaited Watchmen/A-Team crossover. 

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